The 27th Chicago International Children's Film Festival begins Friday, October 22, 6 PM, with an opening-night gala at Northwestern University's Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago; tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for children. Included is a 60-minute screening of shorts that should appeal to all ages. The top live-action entry is Sandra Boynton's One Shoe Blues (2009), with B.B. King playing straight man to some musical sock puppets. Two shorts combine hand-drawn animation and CGI: from Australia, Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann's The Lost Thing, a surreal meditation on a mysterious beached creature, and from Germany, Johannes Weiland and Uwe Heidschoetter's The Little Boy and the Beast (2009), in which a youngster is forced to take charge when his newly divorced mother becomes a morose, unrecognizable monster. Tied for funniest are Rob Silvestri's Canadian short Ormie (2009), a CGI tale of a pig who's obsessed with a cookie jar, and Alexei Alexeev's 2D Hungarian animation Log Jam (2008), in which a motley assortment of forest animals get their musical act together.
After that, the festival moves to four Chicago locations—Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted; Facets Cinematheque, 1517 W. Fullerton; Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Dr.; and Univ. of Chicago Doc Films, 1212 E. 59th—for daytime screenings of features and shorts programs on Saturday and Sunday, October 23, 24, 30, and 31. Tickets for these programs are $9, $6 for children. There are also workshops on acting, animation, and movie makeup; advance registration is required at cicff.org (where you'll also find a complete schedule) or at 773-281-9075, ext. 3011. Tickets for all programs can be purchased online at ticketweb.com or by phone at 866-468-3401. —Andrea Gronvall